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RTI to start righting the wrongs

Nov 28 ((DM) French Nobel Prize winning author, journalist and philosopher Albert Camus has said a free media can be good or bad, but most certainly without freedom, the media will never be anything but bad. In a similar vein, veteran United States politician Christopher Dodd has warned that when the people’s right to know is threatened and when the rights of free speech and free media are at risk, all of the other liberties we hold dear are endangered. more..

Mutiny on SAARC ship; China can save it

Nov 28 ((DM) When the eight leaders of the SAARC met in Kathmandu, Nepal on Wednesday, the undercurrent was one of one-upmanship and the atmosphere underscored the truism that there is no altruism in politics. In sharp contrast to the mood of solidarity that prevailed at the inauguration of India’s PM Narendra Modi in May this year, with all SAARC country leaders or their representatives present, the air at the summit venue in Kathmandu was heavy with sparring and shadow boxing. more..

Presidential Scholarship award holders shown Lanka’s beauty and rich heritage

Nov 28 (ST) As a part of a familiarisation tour of Sri Lanka’s rich cultural and natural diversity among foreign students, the Higher Education Ministry organised its first country trip for the Presidential Scholarship award holders. Participating in this four-day tour were 45 foreign students from countries such as Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Bhutan, Afghanistan, India, Palestine, South Africa, Bangladesh, Uganda, Nepal, more..

Time to laugh a bit: Presidential files and other files

Nov 28 (Island) Rumour had it for many years that our president contained the dissent of his colleagues by manipulating a set of ‘files.’ President Mahinda Rajapaksa recently heard saying something like this, "Reverend Sir, I have files of those who left me. But I don’t want to use them." It is important to note who, the addressee is here: he was directly addressing the Buddhist monks. We just happened to overhear it. more..

Legal and policy implications

Nov 28 (SL) Land has a central place in post war debates involving resettlement, reconstruction, development and the search for a political solution. During the war and post tsunami, questions of ownership, access, control and zoning were frequently raised, highlighting the need for reform. With the tenth year anniversary of the tsunami nearing and more than five years after the end of the war, many questions persist. more..

'Tennakoons won’t desert SLFP'

Nov 28 (Island) Family members of the late Minister T.B. Tennakoon, a founder member of SLFP, would never betray their party, CPC’s Minister Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon, son of Land Minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon said at a media conference convened by the Central Province CM, Sarath Ekanayake. Pramitha Bandara scotched rumours that the Tennakoons were planning to quit the govt and SLFP. more..

Delay in appointing Dean: Medical dons put off strike

Nov 28 (Island) The Faculty of Medicine Teachers Association (FMTA) yesterday called off its token strike and re-scheduled it for Dec. 4 following a decision taken at a meeting held on Wednesday. President of FMTA, Prof. Deepal Mathew said that his association, however, hoped to discuss the matter with the Colombo University authorities and the Minister of Higher Education again before launching the strike. more..

Elections offer little solace to Sri Lanka’s Poor

Nov 28 (IPS) Priyantha Wakvitta is used to seeing his adopted city, Colombo, transform into a landscape of bright sparkling lights and window dressing towards the end of the year. This year, he says, he is having a double dose of visual stimulation, with publicity materials for the January Presidential Election competing with Christmas décor at every turn. Though the presidential race could shape up to be a close one, more..

Maithripala to implement LLRC report

Nov 28 (CG) Common opposition Presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena says he will implement the recommendations of the LLRC if he comes to power. Asked at a media briefing today how he will address the accountability issue if he wins, Sirisena said that the LLRC recommendations will be used for this purpose. UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya, JHU MP Ven Athureliya Rathana & MP Rajitha Senaratne more..

FUTA questions Temple Trees meeting

Nov 28 (CG) The FUTA, in a media statement, has questioned the motives behind an invitation allegedly sent out by the Ministry of Higher Education and the UGC to all academics of state universities to attend a ‘Progress Review Meeting’ at Temple Trees on Monday. FUTA said it finds the timing of such meetings extremely questionable adding that previously too, a meeting was held in 2010, just prior to the Presidential Election. more..

Malaka released on bail, banned from nightclubs

Nov 28 (AD) Malaka Silva and six other suspects who were arrested on charges of assaulting a foreign couple at a nightclub, has been released on bail by the Colombo Magistrate Court. The court also prohibited Malaka Silva from entering any nightclubs for the duration of the case. Malaka has been in remanded prison for nearly a month, in connection with the incident, as his bail pleas were repeatedly turned down by the Magistrate. more..

Azwer resigned from parliament: Seat given to Amir Ali?

Nov 28 (AM) UPFA MP A H M Azwer has resigned from the Parliament. Azwer was a National List member of the Parliament. He was a minister of Muslim Affairs for some time. Azwer was a staunch supporter of President Rajapaksa and a strong critique of the UNP. However, the reason for the MP’s resignation is not officially announced. Azwer has reportedly handed over his official letter of resignation to the Parliament Secretary. more..

'As Commonwealth Chairman MR should conduct free and fair polls'

Nov 28 (Island) UNP yesterday said that incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa being the Chairman of the Commonwealth, the government of Sri Lanka would have to conduct the forthcoming presidential election in an exemplary manner. Addressing the media at UNP headquarters, Sirikotha, Matara District MP Mangala Samaraweera said that the international community, particularly the Commonwealth, would be closely watching what was happening in Sri Lanka. more..

Rajapaksa family controls 56% of Budget, 16% more than in 2010

Nov 28 (CT) Out of every rupee spent by our govt, 56% are directly controlled by members of Rajapaksa family. Analysis of budgets over the last five years reveals that the share of the budget controlled by the Rajapaksa family, viz Mahinda Rajapaksa, Basil Rajapaksa MP and Nirupama Rajapaksa MP, increased 22% – from an already gargantuan 40% in 2010 to an eye-watering 56% this year. Chart below tells the story. Also, over half the budget is personally controlled by more..


Nov 28 (CT) This week's Agnus Dei crosses the floor to look at crossovers or expulsions as it is termed in the judicial language or legal English. Crossovers or de facto defections in general follow an established pattern characterized initially by pandemonium, a state which is subsequently replaced by much bitter recriminations hurled by the irate stakeholders due to the sense of treachery and betrayal followed by much, more..

Sri Lankan stocks steady near 11-week low

Nov 28 (Reuters) Sri Lankan stocks were steady near an 11-week low on Friday as investors were cautious about buying risky assets due to political uncertainty ahead of a presidential election early next year. At 0654 GMT, the main stock index was up 0.03% at 7,117.96, near its lowest since Sept 9. "Still, the worries over political uncertainty remain," said a stockbroker on condition of anonymity. "We expect the market to dip until the elections on a fall in all stocks. more..

Romesh Gunesekera shortlisted for South Asia fiction prize

Nov 28 (NS) Sri Lanka born London based writer Romesh Gunesekera has been shortlisted for DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, a prestigious literary award for South Asian fiction. The shortlist for the fifth annual DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2015 was announced at the historic London School of Economics and Political Science on Thursday. Gunesekera has been nominated for Noontide Toll, which according to Shehan Karunatilaka, are a set of gracefully crafted more..

Commissioner goes abroad: Confirmation on Maithripala’s symbol delayed

Nov 28 (AM) While there is still no final decision on the election symbol of common candidate Maithripala Sirisena, Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya left the country this morning and he will return to Sri Lanka on Dec 1, sources from the Elections Department said. Sirisena will contest under the party Apey Jathika Peramuna whch had telephone as its symbol However, the party has requested Elections Commissioner more..

The right to information

Nov 28 (CT) Despite the many attempts made over the years by the media and other whistleblowers to have a Right to Information Act enacted, the citizens of this country have been denied the benefit of such a legislation by successive administrations, violating the people's right to information. Joint statements by media groups too have not prompted the government to see the need for a mechanism that would ensure the right to information to its citizens. This may be because, authorities more..

Spice Island products enter UK market

Nov 28 (Island) Spice Island, a Sri Lankan brand inspired by the ancient art of Ayurveda recently announced its partnership with House of Fraser in the United Kingdom, to commence sales of Spice Island beauty products with limited edition gift packs for the Christmas Season 2014. New to House of Fraser for winter 2014, the Spice Island line comprises a selection of unique natural skin care sets. Harnessing the powers of Sri Lankan ancient Ayurvedic healing and pure rainforest more..

CTSU threatens mass-scale satyagraha

Nov 28 (CT) Ceylon Teachers' Services Union (CTSU) General Secretary Mahinda Jayasinghe said he would rally every member of his Trade Union (TU) and affiliated TUs to launch a massive-scale satyagraha, if the meeting with the Education Ministry Secretary Anura Dissanayake, on Monday did not bear fruit. He said this following a protest march to the Ministry at Isurupaya, Battaramulla on Wednesday. more..

Govt. to purchase Big Onions at Rs.90 per Kg

Nov 28 (GDI) The Minister of Co-operatives & Internal Trade Johnston Fernando pointed out that the Government has embarked on a programme of purchasing a kilogram of big onions at a guaranteed price of 90 rupees granting a value to the produce of the cultivators under the programme of protecting the local farmers. He said hat the Ministry is making big onion purchases from Dambulla, through the CWE and a kilo is being purchased from cultivators at 90 rupees. more..

'Drug companies donated Rs 1B to defeat National Drug Policy'

Nov 28 (CT) Common candidate Maithripala Sirisena, addressing health workers' unions yesterday said that according to reliable sources, 400 drug companies registered with the Ministry of Health had contributed Rs 2.5 million each so that the Act on the National Drug Policy drafted by the minister would not see the light of day. "Having heard that, I did not ask where the money went or who took it," said Former Health Minister. Pictorial warning on cigarette packets will be more..

UNESCAP Asia Pacific Business Forum concludes

Nov 28 (GDI) UNESCAP Asia Pacific Business Forum was held from Nov. 25 to 27 for the very the first time in Sri Lanka and it was an significant moment as it was held in a South Asian country for the first time. The theme this year was “Enhancing regional business sustainability and investment” with the particular aim of giving businesses and other stakeholders from South Asia and other sub regions a stronger voice. more..

Alayadivembu PS Budget defeated

Nov 28 (AD) The 2015 Budget of the TNA-controlled Alayadivembu Pradeshiya Sabha has been defeated today after a TNA member and an independent member joined the opposition (UPFA) and voted against the budget. The Alayadivembu Pradeshiya Sabha consists of 5 TNA members, 3 UPFA and one independent member. TNA member B. Thyagaraja and independent member E. Wadiwel today joined the UPFA opposition and voted against the budget. more..

'Mahindodaya labs ready & must be opened'

Nov 28 (ST) A number of ‘Mahindodaya Vidyagara’ in the Central Province, complete with equipment installed, are ready to be opened, but the principals of these institutions are waiting for a person of their choice to declare them open, Central Province Governor Tikiri Kobbekaduwa disclosed. “They must be opened for the use of the students and that is why they have been granted by the President”, the Governor said speaking at a function at Gannoruwa Vidyalaya, Gannoruwa, felicitating more..

Sri Lanka arrests 37 asylum seekers turned back by Australia

Nov 28 (AFP) Police arrested Friday 37 nationals turned back by Australian authorities on the high seas after attempting to seek asylum, in the first such case in four months, an officer said. SPP Ajith Rohana said Australia's coastguard intercepted the trawler carrying the Sri Lankans near the Indonesian coast, before handing the asylum-seekers over to Sri Lanka's navy on Thursday. "Boat left Sri Lanka on Nov 1," more..

'I have nothing to do with the protest outside Dialog': Harsha

Nov 28 (AM) UNP MP Harsha de silva today distanced himself from the protest which took place outside the Dialog office yesterday. The MP asserted "he said what he had to say" over the controversy. "This is to inform everyone that I had absolutely nothing to do with a protest that had taken place outside Dialog. I said what I had to say and that is it. All what I want is for Dr Hans Wijesuriya not to be dictated to by the TRC which does not have any role in regulating content. more..

Sri Lankans behind Mithila Mohan murder

Nov 28 (DC) State police has been investigating the sensational Mithila Mohan murder case for the past eight years and now they have came up with a new theory stating that Sir Lankan natives were behind the murder. Mohan, an abkari contractor was killed at his residence in Palarivattom by unidentified people on April 6, 2006. According to the Crime Branch, the third accused, Mathivanan and fourth accused Uppali, did not belong to Tamil Nadu, but may have been related to Sri Lankan Tamils. more..

'Not been easy to concentrate'

Nov 28 (CI) There will be tragic symmetry when Sri Lanka take the field for the second ODI in Colombo, as many on social media have noted. When a 20-year-old Phillip Hughes struck his maiden Test hundred in Durban, he had worn a black armband following the Lahore terror attack on the Sri Lanka team. On Saturday, in Colombo, Sri Lanka will wear black armbands for Hughes. Sri Lanka & England had spoken of abandoning more..

Sri Lanka’s presidential race gets interesting

Nov 28 (TD) President Rajapaksa has just announced that the country will hold a presidential election two years early. The move had been expected for some time. Election will be held on Jan 8, 2015. In light of this development, there are other issues that merit attention. As mentioned in New York Times, “Rajapaksa’s second term officially ends in Nov 2016, but he can legally seek re-election after completing four years in office, a marker his office said he passed on Nov 19.” more..

Ceypetco offers rare naphtha cargo

Nov 28 (Reuters) Ceylon Petroleum Corp (Ceypetco) has offered a rare naphtha cargo for December as heavy rains curb the use of the fuel for power generation purposes. The state-owned company has offered 100,000 barrels of naphtha for loading from Dolphin Pier, Colombo over Dec. 20 to 21. Bids are to be submitted on Dec. 4 and will expire in 72 hours. "Due to heavy rains, hydropower is maximised, so there are some temporary exports of naphtha," one of the sources said. more..

Put country before yourself says MR

Nov 28 (CG) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, addressing school students, today urged them to put their country before self and also not to think negative in life. He was speaking at a ceremony held at D.S. Senanayake College in Colombo after declaring open a statue of late educationist R.I.T. Alles in the presence of his family and guests, including deputy UNP leader Sajith Premadasa. more..

Pakistan notes Sri Lanka ties important

Nov 28 (CG) Commander of Sri Lankan Air Force Air Marshal Kolitha Gunatilleke called on Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain at Aiwan-e-Sadr. Highlighting the existence of long term bilateral ties between the two countries, the president said that Pakistan attached high importance to its cordial relations with Sri Lanka. The president said that further strengthening of bilateral partnership in diverse areas would be mutually beneficial to the people of both countries. more..

EC issues Presidential election circular

Nov 28 (DN) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya issued a special circular to heads of all ministries, departments and corporations to prevent the misuse of government property during the forthcoming Presidential election. The circular has been sent to ministry secretaries, heads of departments, corporations and other government establishments. The circular prohibits use of government vehicles, offices and buildings for election campaigns. more..

Video: I will protect MR and family: Maithri

Nov 28 (DM) Common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena said today that he would not allow international forces or the Tamil diaspora to drag incumbent President Rajapaksa, his family or anyone in the security forces to an International War Crimes Court. He made this pledge on behalf of the opposition at a media briefing this morning. Mr. Sirisena also pledged to have a proper reconciliation plan to heal all more..

Emerging common opposition

Nov 29 (CT) The factors which are forging unity among the opposition political parties and the civil society organizations are the immediate need to change the constitution and to abolish the Executive Presidency. This includes also ending the rule of one corrupt family. We have seen the results of the 18th Amendment to the constitution. How true is Edmund Burke for us today who said, the greater the power, the more dangerous will be the abuses. Undoubtedly, preoccupations of opposition more..

What system should rule?

Nov 29 (CT) What is the basic question of politics at the national level today? Should we agree that it is a question about the type of person(s) who should rule? Or the type of the system which we should create if we agree that the current system is so corrupt and looks so tyrannical. In other words, can we rationally think that the executive powers vested in Presidency will be used wisely by ‘a wise man to come’? After all, are all our people wise enough to elect such a wise man, if he is around us? more..

Stop the violence NOW!

Nov 29 (SO) In a couple of days, women across the world will take to the streets and public platforms to air their views on a subject that they have long been familiar with - so much so that it has become part of their daily lives: namely, Gender Based Violence (GBV). Living in a world where almost every fabric of society has been infiltrated by acts of violence, where civil wars, ethnic conflicts, honour killings, and moral decay more..

Sri Lanka at the cross roads again

Nov 29 (Island) According to widespread Sri Lankan perceptions, we came to a cross roads by 1989 and in 1994 we chose what seemed to most of us to be the right road, which would lead to definitive solutions of the two major problems bedeviling us: that of restoring a fully functioning democracy and establishing unity through a solution of the ethnic problem. Today, 20 years later, many Sri Lankans, perhaps most, share the perception that we have again come to a cross roads more..